Hard cider from Delaware? Are you kidding? Well it’s true. Great Shoals, an award-winning winery, of Mount Vernon, Maryland connected with T.S. Smith and Sons from Bridgeville, Delaware, a 106 year old family run farm. At the same time, the Smiths were looking for someone to answer their customer’s inquiries for a Delaware cider. Matt Cimino from Great Shoals paid the Bridgeville farm a visit during apple harvest and found an ideal apple that Delmarva Apple lovers have grown to love, The Black Twig.
The Black Twig, a favorite of Andrew Jackson, started it’s journey around 1830 near Fayetteville, Tennessee on a farm of Major Rankin Toole. It’s popularity grew into the 20th century in Virginia and North Carolina, and of course Delaware. Black Twigs have been covering the Bridgeville orchard for over 80 years.
The Black Twig is an October picker that actually improves in flavor after harvest. It’s sweet tart character makes this apple ideal for cider as well as an all purppose eating and cooking fruit.
Now for the review
Black Twig clocks in at a whopping 8% so it is technically classified as an apple wine. Whatever. It’s a cider dammit!
First, I must say how I love the sound of cider when it hits the bottom of the glass, just saying. The pour was light golden and mildly cloudy due to the bottle fermentation. A thin mousse covered the top then instantly dissipated. Tight, happy, small bubbles raced to the surface.
Before I stuck my nose in the glass, I was greeted with an intense whiff of fermentated goodness, incredibly inviting.
The immediate aroma provided a very light apple note and light simple syrup showed through. I found this to be pleasant. I also picked up mild unripe pears.
My immediate taste was a tingly acidic sensation from front toungue to sides. Dry tartness dominates the palate. Mouthfeel was quite full and fruit sneaks its way into the middle palate. Black Twig finishes quick with a bone dryness.
Black Twig Cider is definitely a dry cider and I know there are many dry cider lovers out there so visit Great Shoals online for a list of retailers carrying Black Twig as well as other Great Shoals ciders.
Hot Off The Press
T.S. Smith and Sons and Great Shoals collaborated again for a rare Blazing Star Peach Cider. For more info visit Examiner.com
Other producers are discovering Black Twig as well. Here is another southern producer using a variety including the Black Twig.
Ragged Mountain from Albamarle Ciderworks a cider blend of classic apple varieties — Albemarle Pippin, Winesap, Black Twig, Grimes Golden and Stayman — historically grown on and around the Ragged Mountains.